A great place to be a School Leader
Wakefield Council is a signatory of the NAHT’s Leadership Compact, a profession-led code of practice for employers, and is proud that it works to make the district an attractive and effective environment that enables school leaders to perform. All new headteachers in the district are supported with an induction programme and the opportunity for mentoring from an experienced colleague.
The quality of education provided by the 141 schools and academies continues to improve. In August 2016, for example, the percentage of ‘good’ or better schools increased to 85%, with the highest percentage in West Yorkshire reaching the new expected standard for Key Stage Two, and higher Progress Eight than all statistical neighbours at Key Stage Four.
Effective partnership working with and between schools is a priority for Wakefield Council. Strong locally-based school collaborations exist in all parts of the district, now brought together in the newly-established Partnership Forum, a school-led strategic body representing all local collaborations. This forum also brings together the Teaching Schools and MATs working in the district and is leading to new opportunities for school leaders to work in partnership to develop leadership capacity at all levels, the sharing of best practice, and improved outcomes for all learners.
Wakefield Council recognises that there are areas of good or outstanding practice in schools of all sorts, and is working with the Partnership Forum to enhance the capacity of further schools to step into sharing their practice with others. Opportunities exist to become a LLE or NLE.
Outstanding Council Services
The Council has a range of service-level agreements through which schools can purchase high quality leadership development, curriculum support, data support, HR and a range of other services. The Council is committed to providing a visit from School Improvement Advisers to all schools and academies even where schools are not purchasing school improvement services – ‘Keeping in Touch’ visits.
Headteachers in Wakefield are well-supported by the council’s Governor Support Services, ensuring that governing bodies are well-trained, well-clerked and well-advised. Reviews of governance, National College training, mentor support and enhanced recruitment strategies have all strengthened governance of schools.
A range of leadership programmes have been commissioned, including Aspiring System Leaders and Aspiring Middle Leaders programmes delivered by schools for schools. Wakefield Partnership for Initial Teacher Training (WRITT) is the only provider nationally to maintain its ‘outstanding’ grade when inspected in 2013.
Wakefield Council has maintained a high quality CPD service for schools, which schools are able to access through a service level agreement or on a ‘pay as you go’ basis. These courses and opportunities such as ‘Heads Together’ are well-attended and well-regarded. Wakefield also has five Teaching Schools. The two-day residential Headteachers’ Conference is an annual highlight of the CPD programme. This has been held in York in recent years with a range of high quality keynote presenters and workshops. The Council’s Music Service is also highly regarded, and the Music Hub that it runs has the distinction of achieving the Art’s Council’s highest rating four year in a row. Over three thousand children take part in activities under its auspices every week.